Stoops pushes for improvement on both linesby Anthony Gimino on Sep. 08, 2010, under Sports
Arizona wants to get pushy this week.
While de-constructing his team’s performance at Toledo, coach Mike Stoops, while otherwise pleased with the effort and most of the results, saw two notable areas in need of an upgrade.
One was the offensive line. The Wildcats failed to get enough push up front in the running attack, especially in the power run game.
That should be easily solved this week against The Citadel. Fullback Taimi Tutogi, who didn’t play much in the opener because of an ankle injury, is slated to return as a lead blocker.
That means A.J. Simmons doesn’t have to be in the backfield and can return to his natural tight end spot on the line, replacing Jack Baucus. The redshirt freshman was a tad “star-struck” in his first game, Stoops said, and Simmons is more comfortable and effective up front.
With the right personnel in the right places, now Arizona just needs to have the right attitude when it uses it power running sets.
Said running back Nic Grigsby: “We just didn’t do a good job with our big sets, running hard and making plays. Our personnel wasn’t right, but we’ll fix that this week.”
On other side of the ball, Stoops wasn’t thrilled with the “push” there, either. Specifically, the pass-rush push from his defensive tackles. Not much he can do about that this week against The Citadel, which will run, run, run out of its triple-option attack.
Defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore failed to come up with a sack against Toledo … and Stoops said they simply needed more help.
It’s like the old Tedy Bruschi-Rob Waldrop debate from the Desert Swarm days. Did Bruschi get all those sacks because of Waldrop’s push up the middle, or did Waldrop make all those big plays because of Bruschi’s pressure off the edge? Answer: Yes.
“I think Ricky and Brooks were close,” Stoops said.
“But if we can get more push up the middle and stay more disciplined in our lanes, they can be more productive players. That is what it has to be. If we get good pressure off the edge, and there’s no push, then the quarterback just steps away from them.”